“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.” ~ James Allen
This afternoon, while waiting my turn in a queue, I watched a woman buy a good quality earthenware pot. It was a lovely shade of purple and considerably reduced in price. As I admired her pot I imagined her pleasure, not just as she brought it home and added it to her collection, but everytime she removed it from the oven to serve up delicious, heart-warming food to her loved ones.
More than a fleeting moment of happiness attributed to a great buy, I could see this purchase being associated with a long-lasting feeling of contentment.
And then the most amazing thought flashed across my mind: sometimes money can buy us happiness.
The reason I classify this thought as “amazing” is because I’ve been aware—but unable to oust—the persistent, unhelpful belief that “money can’t buy us happiness”. You know, the one so many of us are conditioned with since childhood. The one that people who easily build and maintain wealth do not struggle with.
Because being aware of what our limiting beliefs are is one thing. Changing them to something more helpful is another matter entirely. It generally requires a lot of persistent dedication to acknowledging and reframing unhelpful thoughts as often as they arise.
And although I am acutely aware that we don’t need to be rich to be happy, I’m also well versed in the truth that we don’t have to be poor either! I’m not a fan of rampant consumerism, but I live in the real world where I have rent and bills to pay. So, for some time now I have been working on releasing my unhelpful beliefs around money and today’s experience gives me hope that a shift is beginning to take place.
As I strolled happily to my car, I recalled that throughout my shopping experience I felt good everytime I saw something that made me think of someone else. Many times I had the thought, “If I had the money I would buy that for so-and-so.” And I felt an inner pleasure each time I had the thought. This is mighty progress!
Usually those thoughts would be accompanied with resentment. Resentment for my inability to make the purchase I would like. The wrong feeling to align my vibration with that of abundance.
But pleasure—that’s more like it.
And driving home, a whole list of ways in which money can buy us happiness unfolded in my mind. Really good things we can do with money; ways to be of service to the greater good—or just the good of somebody we care about (ourselves included).
So, for those who are blessed with financial abundance but cursed with spiritual discontentment, allow me to share a few ideas of how you can buy a little happiness:
1. Commit random acts of kindness in the form of Happy Money—leave money, with kind notes attached, hidden in places where strangers will find them (sugar bowls in cafes, or egg cartons in supermarkets). Not only will the money be a boost to them, but the note will uplift their spirits—and yours. This is something I practice as often as I can, even though usually the most I can give is a fiver. I know that no matter how small the gift is, the finder will be delighted.
2. Buy a gift for someone—for no other reason than you saw it and thought of them, knowing they would love it.
3. Give to a good cause—one that resonates deeply with you, for whatever reason, rather than a charity that hijacks your conscience midway through your day. Spend some time educating yourself on the work that they do and then give mindfully, knowing exactly what difference your money is going to make in the lives of others.
4. Purchase—for yourself—a thing or experience that you will deeply enjoy. It may be a really great massage, a piece of art, a product that will make a big difference to how you experience your day-to-day life, or the holiday of a lifetime. Like that lady buying the pot, buy yourself something that will give you long-lasting contentment everytime you use it, admire it or recall it.
5. Pay all bills with a sense of gratitude for your ability to do so. Appreciate how massively blessed you are to be able to do this, as so many people across the globe suffer significant stress daily due to financial struggles.
And for those of you who (like me) aren’t financially flush at this moment in time, try making the shift I experienced today and imagine—with as much joy as you can muster—how good it would feel to be in a position to do these things.
Happiness is an inner state of being and we don’t have to change our financial circumstances in order to experience it. But that doesn’t mean we can’t aspire to having more money in our lives—it’s perfectly fine to do so. Money is energy and, when used mindfully, can enrich our lives beyond the material.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Hilda Carroll
Editor: Renee Picard
Photo via Moyan Brenn/Flickr